Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Summer has ended and fall weather is nipping at it’s heels. Cooler days and nights are beckoning for hearty autumn fare.

This thick, flavorful soup is all that and more. Abundantly rich with vegetables and pasta this traditional italian dish is hearty and comforting; the ideal meal for the cool nights ahead. Salad and crusty warm bread make the perfect sides. And let’s not forget a glass of your favorite vino.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

adapted from “All About Pasta & Noodles” by Irma


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 medium celery stalk with leaves, finely chopped

2 tbsp packed finely chopped fresh parley

2 large cloves garlic, minced

One 14 oz can crushed whole tomatoes with juice

One 15 to 19 oz can cannellini, great northern or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup (1 inch) pieces green beans

1 cup small frozen lima beans

2 cups packed (1inch) pieces escarole, curly endive, or swiss chard, washed and dried

1 cup elbow or shell macaroni

Salt and ground black pepper

¼ cup grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)


Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and parsley and sauté until vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes.

Add in garlic and stir for one minute. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add beans and stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Next add escarole, endive or chard. Cover and simmer low for 5 minutes. Add pasta and salt to taste. Continue to simmer until pasta is tender, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Ladle into serving bowls and top with grated cheese.

Pasta e fagioli 2

Serves 8 as a first course,  4 as a main course.

Mother’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Vegtable Beef Soup

My mother spent most of her life in the kitchen.  With 7 children and a hard working husband, she had plenty of hungry mouths to feed. Cooking was never her favorite past time- “let’s get this meal over with” she’d often say, but she managed to turn out some incredible down home cooking. She never used a recipe; never owned a recipe book but she made the best biscuits, cornbread, greens, grits and pies. All meat was fried and all vegetables were seasoned with bacon drippings. She was not a chef by any means, but that little woman was a fabulous southern cook and we were blessed with 3 hot meals everyday. Sadly, there are no recipes to pass down and these days, Mother is unable to recall those details.

This soup is one she made often. I recreated it as best I could by memory and added my own twist.  It is a savory, hearty meal that warms my soul on those chilly days and takes me back to that little house on the red dirt road.  Now if I could only re-create those biscuits.

Mother will be 98 on October 4th. Happy Birthday, Mary Helen. This one’s for you.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Serves 8-10

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes

1-15 oz can tomato sauce

½ pound stew beef, cut into bite size pieces

One large onion, chopped

1 large or 2 small stalks celery, sliced

2 14.5 ounce cans beef broth plus 1 can water

2 cups potatoes, small diced

2 carrots, sliced

¼ tsp tarragon

¼ tsp thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 cup frozen green peas

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute onions and beef until beef is browned and onions are soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the macaroni and peas. Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender, 30-45 minutes. Add pasta, cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Add peas.  Simmer 5 minutes more. Serve with cornbread.

me and mother

Mother’s Day 2013